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Back up hunting rifle

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by BP Hunter, Nov 11, 2014.

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  1. BP Hunter

    BP Hunter Member

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    I have one hunting rifle - Ruger Hawkeye 25-06. This is my only hunting rifle for deer and coyotes. The only rifle that I can use for hunting would be my Mosin Nagant. I also have a Ruger SR762 which I definitley would not want to use to carry in the mountains.

    Are back hunting rifles really necessary? Aren't rifles,like the Ruger true and tested to last al long time. Is it worth it to buy a back up hunting rifle? If ever, would you suggest another one in a different caliber? I do not forsee myself hunting for bear, elk antelope, etc.

    Thanks.
     
  2. gspn

    gspn Member

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    The only time I've ever brought a backup rifle with me was on a recent hunt out west. It was a long way from home and would be more than a simple inconvenience if something happened to my primary gun.

    I existed for years with only one rifle. I never had a problem, but if I did I could just skip some hunts until I had the problem fixed or borrow one from a friend.

    I guess my summary would be the more you have invested in a particular hunt ($$$, long way from home, rare opportunity etc) the more you'll want a backup. If it's just normal run of the mill hunting...I'd be fine with one gun.
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2014
  3. Bobson

    Bobson Member

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    If I ever bought a back-up hunting rifle - and it's purpose was just for back-up - I'd get one in the same caliber as my primary, just to make it keep things simple. I'd also set up the back-up option exactly like my primary. Same rifle, same sling, same everything. That's just how I like to do things.

    For my own purposes, a back-up to a hunting rifle is about as important as a back-up couch. If something happens to your primary, you aren't going to die if you have to wait a couple days before sitting on the couch again. Same thing with hunting rifles. Wait a couple days and fix or replace the primary rifle. Now, if you could afford a back-up without putting yourself in a tight spot, there's nothing at all wrong with enjoying that and doing it. I'm just saying that for me, it wouldn't be a priority.

    Now if I were a professional hunter, guide, or sustenance hunter, that would change big time; a back-up hunting rifle would be extremely important, and I would do what I could to ensure that back-up became a reality, as my livelihood depended on it.

    If I were planning a once-in-a-lifetime hunt that included thousands of dollars in costs due to travel, guide fee, etc, then I would want a back-up rifle for that. But obviously, if that sort of hunt is on the table, funds for a back-up rifle wouldn't seem to be a problem.
     
  4. OYE

    OYE Member

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    Back up gun

    If your mosin nagant shoots and you can shoot it, you probably have a back up gun.

    For my part I typically hunt backcountry units (wilderness areas for the most part) with pack horses, and when I go I tend to stay a while. Never had a mishap with a rifle since we typically have well trained stock or know how to handle those that we are still training, and never do we make the hunting trip the first time out for a packhorse. They have already been packed or ridden many miles before going on the real thing ( way more than you can imagine) . Of course the horses are well fed, not over packed, and we don't use mares. Synthetic stocks have helped a lot, but having that extra rifle hid in the truck at the trailhead is always a good feeling as it's a long way home. Even having to go back to the trailhead to replace a gun can be a big enough problem. And in some cases can end the hunt right there.

    Now we have seen a few broken rifles (wooden stocks mainly) from a foot hunter that slipped and fell and quite a few wooden stocks broken by horses brushing trees or pack horses trying to crowd by or a horse slipping and falling. And one stock broken and scope base sheared off and scope smashed
    by a horse that fell quite a ways ( not mine ) and died on impact.

    Just a few of the things that can happen, but typically don't.

    But for the typical day trip hunt when you are close to home, I wouldn't
    even consider taking one. As far as making a special purchase for the back up gun, I would think that might be hard to justify. I certainly didn't. OYE
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2014
  5. buck460XVR

    buck460XVR Member

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    Why not?
     
  6. courtgreene

    courtgreene Member

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    I think it's a good idea to have a backup. I used to have to drive two hours to hunt and would always take two rifles. Once I forgot the bolt for the gun I intended to use and was glad I had it. Another time an unforeseen downpour soaked the primary gun, I had to take it apart to get all the water off of it, and I was glad I had the backup that day too. A backup rifle is insurance. You just don't know what will happen. Now I live close to where I hunt (same place, I just moved closer) but still take a backup because I'd rather not have to waste time going back home to get another gun. If I didn't have another gun to go back and get I'd REALLY be mad. So if you can afford it, go for it.
    BTW... my backup gun was originally a Mosin Nagant. I've got quite a few more rifles now, but yours will serve you well if you get hunting bullets and can hit where you're aiming.
     
  7. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    With glass and mount it will weigh 10 lbs, or close to it. I'd carry that much if it offered any real advantage, but a 10 lb rifle with a stubby 16" barrel is just dead weight. You can carry a 6 lb rifle with a full length, far more accurate barrel and be much better off. But if the SR762 were the only option, I'd use it before I'd stay at home.

    I own several rifles, never given any thought to having one setup specifically as a back-up, but usually take 2 when traveling any distance to hunt. Stuff happens.

    I rarely use a spare tire either, but keep one.
     
  8. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    I used to always take my .257 Roberts to back up my 7 mag out west. It paid off for me one opening season hunt when a Simmons (my fault for buying a cheap scope) Whitetail scope went to crap on me. I missed a doe. I didn't understand why as the shot felt so good. Sitting in my motorhome in camp that evening, playing with it, I noticed that when I'd zoom the power, somewhere around 7, the reticule would bobble.

    Next day, I took a big doe with my old tried and true .257 at about 200 yards and ordered a decent scope for the 7 sometime later. Took a nice wall hanger buck on that same west Texas ranch few years later with the 7 and the new Weatherby Supreme scope.

    Now, I have 3 primary hunting rifles and haven't shot that 7 mag in quite some time. It's a good choice out in the open desert country where a shot can be long, but in the woods, it's kinda out of its element. Heck, I shoot my black powder mostly, now, though I took a spike with my .257 last season.

    I think the Mosin is okay for woods hunting, but I'd want optics for west Texas. You should probably buy another rifle just because it's a danged good excuse for one, whether you ever need it or not. :D Get an 06 or something with more punch. Heck, it'll work on whitetails and be more appropriate if you ever get to hunt bigger game than deer. Even a .338 wouldn't be uncalled for, really. Would back up your deer rifle and be ready for up to brown bear. :D

    I don't know, often wonder why I have the other two rifles than my .257 which I got from my Grandpa and with which I killed my first deer 51 years ago. I never did get to hunt elk, the purpose of buying that 7, really. But, the simple answer is "because this is America and I can". :D But, the back up did come in handy once.
     
  9. Scrumbag

    Scrumbag Member

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    If you are going to get another hunting rifle, it might be worth getting something which complements what you have.

    Perhaps a bolt action .308W (since you have the Ruger) Or perhaps something heavier as .25-'06 is light, fast and flat, maybe something heavier slower?

    (.30-'06, .338 Federal, .338-'06, .358W etc)

    KR,

    Scrummy
     
  10. sage5907

    sage5907 Member

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    Most rifle failures are caused by scope problems or trigger problems. The scope is usually not a problem unless you drop the rifle or bang it hard against something but trigger problems can be very real if you have a rifle with an enclosed trigger. There is more than one reason for having a back-up rifle. I use a lighter rifle with a 22 inch barrel for hunting in rough terrain and for hunting in thick cover where shots are less than 200 yards. I use a heavier standard rifle with a 24 inch barrel and a range adjusting scope if my shots may be further than 300 yards. It's not necessary for both rifles to be for the same cartridge and bullet weight. If you don't have a back-up rifle you could plan to borrow one from a relative or friend if your rifle goes down.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2014
  11. kanook

    kanook Member

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    Murphy will show up at the best of times.
     
  12. BP Hunter

    BP Hunter Member

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    Dang it, busted!
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2014
  13. brainwake

    brainwake Member

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    I always take my Savage 110 .270 and my contender carbine in 30-30. I don't really consider my contender a backup as much as it is a rifle that I like to carry when I am getting tired and want something light...or if I am going to do some stalking or pushing......the short barrel and overall length lets you crawl through brush with the rifle shouldered without constantly snagging on stuff.
     
  14. Loyalist Dave

    Loyalist Dave Member

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    I agree that when going on a long distance hunt, perhaps very expensive, perhaps the "hunt of a lifetime"... and you might not be able to afford it again, or have the opportunity again... beware of Murhpy's Law(s) and have a backup.

    Also...your backup rifle may never be used by you... you might be very prepared, but what about any of your hunting companions? My backup .308 has been used twice..., once when a hunting partner broke an internal part on his vintage, heirloom rifle, and once when a different hunting partner showed up but forgot his ammunition...he wasn't using a .308. ;)

    If planning from scratch I'd have one in a matching caliber. The best would be one identical to the rifle that you will be backing up, but that can be very expensive too. In my case my backup rifles are both single shot Handi-Rifles...super durable, and both very accurate...one in .308 and one in .223. Both like the ammunition that fits the bolt-action rifles they support, and since my hunting partners often include left-handed folks, I can loan them if my partners have "technical difficulties" as they are break action, not bolt action. :D

    LD
     
  15. der Teufel

    der Teufel Member

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    For hog hunting I have two rifles. One is an AR-10 with a Photon NV scope for night hunting, the other is a Browning A-Bolt II. Both are .308 caliber.

    I also have the first 'big-game' rifle I ever purchased (from my BIL) which is an Enfield .303 British. It's my loaner now, for when I take someone hunting who doesn't yet have a rifle of their own.
     
  16. Zeke/PA

    Zeke/PA Member

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    I take three rifles to deer camp every year, a Ruger #1 .270, a Marlin in.35 Rem. and another Marlin in .30-30 that is a "loaner" in case another guy in camp has a problem.
    Time was when, I only owned one rifle, a Model 70 in .30-'06.
     
  17. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    Well, my little 3/4 MOA stainless M7 in .308 serves both rolls very nicely. It's short, very light, and has a 2x10x40 Weaver that will work well in heavy cover, or across a New Mexico canyon. I've hunted everything from spot and stalk in the mountains to tight box blinds and still hunting brush. It does it all, one gun. :D
     
  18. Ankeny

    Ankeny Member

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    I always take two rifles, even when hunting day trips for big game, predators, or varmints. About the time you fall and stab the barrel into dirt, mud, snow...Well you get the picture. I take two rifles of different calibers on purpose.
     
  19. ldlfh7

    ldlfh7 Member

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    On my deer hunts I always bring an open sight 30-30 as a backup if the scope on my primary rifle gets dropped or knocked. Ya never know.
     
  20. BP Hunter

    BP Hunter Member

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    I have a Mosin which most probably will be my back up gun, unless I get this itch to buy another rifle. I took it out this weekend and shot it in the thick fog but had a good backing so it was safe. At about 90 paces (my laser range finder could not read in the thick fog), I was hitting my target of 8"x6" 9 out of 10 times with open sights. When it starts to clear, I'll try at 200 yards.
     
  21. heeler

    heeler Member

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    I learned years ago how important a back up rifle truly is.
    My two examples.
    My first deer rifle was bought for me by my late mother back in 1972.
    It was a Mossberg 810 30-06.
    I removed the bolt at camp to clean the rifle but was not able to put it back in.
    A known problem with some of these as well as the 800 series.
    Something with the tang safety.
    Had it not been for another guy with an open sight rifle I would have been there a week doing a lot of brooding.
    Another instances is when I slipped on ice and fell backwards and shattering my nearly brand new Redfield scope.
    I always take a back up rifle to camp.
     
  22. GooseGestapo

    GooseGestapo Member

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    I always take a "backup" gun on a road-trip $$$$ hunt.
    In Wyoming in '09, my buddy didn't take his rifle one evening as he was guiding me on an elk hunt in the Bridger-Teton NF where he didn't have an elk tag. He did however have a mule deer buck tag. Didn't see any elk but a LARGE muley buck. The '06 made a believer out of him. Primary was a Rem Mod-7 in 7mm08. I has some 200gr NP's for the '06 for carrying if/when returning to a carcass.... (grizzly's in area) but let him use some 180gr BallisticTips that hit 2" higher at 100yds near 400yds shot!! He missed first shot high as he didn't think the rifle would shoot as flat as I told himand held high "off the hair". He'd always used .270's and .300's... Buck stood up and took a round through the ribs with a spine hold.... like I told him to the first time!!!

    In Colorado in '13, I ended up hunting all but opening day with my Marlin .338MX as it's 3.5lb's lighter than the .300RUM.
    Much, much, more desirable when hiking 10+mi a day at 9-11,000ft elev.

    But, always be sure you have ammo for BOTH rifles. It's really embarrasing not to have ammo for "either". (my brother did that once.... I had an '06, but not .308 !!!) lucky someone else in party had some .308's... and enough to check sights...
     
  23. CraigC
    • Contributing Member

    CraigC Member

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    Depends on your hunting. If you're doing what I'll be doing all season, hunting your own property, then it's probably not necessary. Although I don't know why one would have only one rifle. Not a big deal if one fails today, I can take another tomorrow. I'm out no money either way.

    If you're spending big bucks to hunt elk out west, grizzly in Alaska or anything in Africa, a backup is smart insurance. Rifles are mechanical devices and as such, they can fail. Even your most tried and trusted. For this, it might be a good idea that your back-up rifle can do as much as possible. Some folks don't really care what they hunt with but for others, it is an integral part of the experience. Even so, it's better to have 'something' to hunt with than to not be able to hunt at all. This could possibly be the only role for which I would find the .30-06 useful. I have to say that if my primary failed and I 'had' to finish my hunt with a plain vanilla .30-06, I'd be looking for a better primary.
     
  24. HB

    HB Member

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    I bring a backup. I'm not sure id buy one as a true backup but I always bring something else suitable for the game in season. In your case I'd just wait until you find another rifle you like then use needing a backup as an excuse to buy it.

    You never know if when a barrel will get clogged, scope knocked or a buddy will need a spare.
     
  25. 3212

    3212 Member

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    I carried a Marlin 30-30 for 25 years,no back-up.One year the stock split from getting rain soaked.I replaced it and continued with one rifle until I got a Win.model 70 in .243.At retirement the kids bought a Ruger .243 laminated,stainless for me.Its my backup,wet weather,brush rifle.
     
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